Friday, January 16, 2015

Finding Inspiration!

I decided to design a cute crochet dress for the spring/summer and found the cutest pink yarn to make it with (of course by now you know that pink, specifically fuschia pink, is my favorite color).  I also decided to write the pattern to share it with you.  The only thing lacking was a design and inspiration.

I started making the dress (without inspiration) and writing the pattern.  It didn't work!  I took it apart several times.  Its kinda frustrating and time consuming BUT, I'm kinda passionate about my designs and it's gotta be right.  It represents me, right?!!

Finally!!! I found my inspiration!!! I purchased the cutest wedge shoe several months ago and it is almost the exact match for the pink yarn.  Also, My birthday is almost two (2) months away.  Im gonna need a cute dress for dinner or whatever celebrating I will do.  Ok, so. . . . . what design will I create?  Well . . .  that also came together and I think I'm well on my way.  The only thing is that I only purchased one skein of yarn. (What was I thinking?) and I've already used it up.  I guess I will have to continue this post a little later.  I need to make a quick run to purchase more.  Hopefully they have enough for me to complete the vision.  I will keep you posted!

Before I go . . . .I need your opinion. What do you think?  Should I also add a strip of orange at the bottom to match the shoe or keep it all one color?  Please post your suggestions.  I would appreciate them.  See you soon, Smooches!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Whew! Last year was a rough one for me.  Many changes, disappointments, losses.  But . . . . there were also many victories, discoveries, risks taken, and chances to dust myself off, re-route and begin a new route to my life and dreams.

The New Year is here!  Every year I'm glad to see the other one leave.  There was no difference this year, but, I made a decision right before the end of the year that changed my perspective.  I have a peace about things and a hope that gives me strength to move forward into the unknown with optimism and joy!

Last year I wanted to design an a-line skirt with pleats. Once it was completed I had a problem finding someone to sew the lining for me.  I finally decided to to try to make it myself.  I took out my sewing machine and fabric and made it happen.  I was pleased with the outcome and finally had a chance to wear it this weekend.  I love it because its shiny and comfy but also cute!  My granddaughter told me she liked my skirt and asked me to make one for her.  I'm not really into creating designs for children but she asked and I must oblige!

If you're reading this post it means you made it into the New Year!  There were many days I didn't want to wake up and was angry that God woke me up.  I thought He was punishing me.  I realize that He has more for me to accomplish and I'm determined to find that path that was set for me and begin the process of walking in it.  I also realized last year that YOU have to create your happiness and pursue your dreams.  Never wait for anyone to do it for you or go on the journey with you.  You can love them along the way, get a little encouragement and/or advice but ultimately you must "gird your loins" and make it happen!

My prayer for you this year is that whatever it is that is hindering you from achieving your goals, making changes to unhealthy situations, or has you bound with anger, resentment, hurts. . . . let it go, release the extra baggage and Free yourself. Try your wings in 2015. They Work!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wait Your Turn. . . and Reap the Benefits!

Happy Tuesday!!  Well, I've had an interesting day but all is well and I pray that the same is for you.  We missed
Angela, Sheila, Myself and Nichelle at Bridal Savoir Fair 2013
our coffee/tea break (lol!)   So. . .  I hope you enjoyed it without me.  I hope that you spent some of that time praying, reflecting and strategically planning how to achieve your dreams and push through the negative thoughts that came sometimes come to overtake us.  I've been VERY BUSY doing just that.  I must say, I think I won the battle today. Yay!

I would like to introduce you to another young designer that I met as a result of knowing Sheila James-Scott and Meredith Corning (who have previously been showcased).  I love her spirit and energy.  We met and it was as if we had been friends previously.  I was a stranger in Littlerock, Arkansas but was made to feel right at home.  

This designer loves fashion and does not mind standing in the background as long as she gets a close-up view.  This view enabled her to see what and what not to do when it is her turn to rise and shine.  This is what happened when we met at Bridal Savior Faire 2013.  She was behind the scenes helping dress the models but 2014 year was her chance to strut her stuff.  And that is exactly what she did!  Please take a minute to read her interview and then take a look at her designs.  I'm sure you'll be as impressed with her work and determination as I am. 

1. Tell me about yourself and how we came to meet.....
My name is Angela McKenzie-Smith. I was born, raised and currently residing in Little Rock, Arkansas. I recently got married this past April to a very handsome man by the name of Marcus Smith and we are also expecting twin boys in February 2015. Tracy and I met last year at the Bridal Savoir Faire in Howell, Arkansas; created by Meredith Corning of Compassion Fashion. I am very involved with Compassion Fashion so last year I was just the designer helping with the coordination of the show. Ms.Smith was showcasing her crochet beachwear and we exchanged information and kept in touch via social media.

 2. What are your gifts and talents? We're they taught or GOD given?

I have a couple of gifts and talents that I display, including but not limited to, cooking and designing women clothing. The cooking was most definitely taught! I come from a family of 15 siblings (same parents!) and my mom cooked practically everyday! She always experimented in the kitchen which trickled down to me. And designing was a mix of both, being taught and God given. I say that because when I was growing up, I always wanted my clothes to stand out. I remember cutting up jeans, taking out hems, removing pockets to show off the darker shade underneath and adding paint or patches down the legs. I always wanted to do more but didn't know how to sew on a machine and barely by hand. In 2010, I attended Jamileh Kamran's School of Fashion Design (now known as the Little Rock School of Fashion) and she taught me how to not only use a sewing machine but how to properly measure the body, create patterns, drape, alter, and much more.

 3. What is your brand and what was your inspiration for starting it?

The name of my brand is AnJaNell. I wanted to create a name that was as unique as my design aesthetic. The name itself is just a miixture of my first and middle name (Angela JaNell) but that is exactly what it represents...ME. My style. My personality.

 4. Where can the brand be seen?  
Right now the brand is exclusive to online. You can find AnJaNell on Facebook (Angela McKenzie-Smith linked to AnJaNell fashion) and Instagram (search AnJaNell or @designerangelam)

 5. How can customers shop and/or place an order?  
My website is currently under construction but will be up very soon! ( For now, orders can be placed by simply inboxing me on either of my social networking sites. Payment methods depend on where you are located but of course PayPal is one of them.

 6. Has your line been showcased in any shows this year?
Yes! I designed four wedding gowns and a flower girl dress for this year's Bridal Savoir Faire 2014. Other than that, I haven't been involved in many shows because I have been more focused on custom orders for clients and building my brand far beyond on a local scale. With that being said, One of my bridal gowns will be featured on the front page of a local magazine next year, I designed a dress for a Bar Louie "All Gold" calendar and I participated in the Divas Dressing Darlings event presented by Compassion Fashion in which i had over 15 dresses sent to Africa for little girls to wear.

Wedding Gown presented at
Bridal Savoir Fair 2014
7. What advice do you have for someone striving to create a brand or find their gift/purpose?  
My advice would be to really get to know yourself. Sit down and really think, what is it that I really enjoy doing? Will I be happy doing that for the rest of my life? How can I make that happen? And, how can I monetize? After these questions are answered, take the first step! You can't capitalize on your gift/purpose if you're still doing the things that made you unhappy yesterday. The time is now!

 8.  Do  you run your business fill time or are you bi-vocational?  
I just started running my business full time, Thanks to my husband. I am super excited and very grateful! There is sooo much that I am in the process of doing, you should definitely stay tuned because AnJaNell is just getting started!!

Angela reminds us to wait out turn and not be too anxious to shine.  It is through helping others and taking a step back to enjoy the process that we are actually giving ourselves a chance to move forward.  So "let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we dot give up." Galatians 6:9

Angela is definately reaping her harvest!  I look forward to seeing the continued benefits as her fashion line continues tp grow, her marriage grows stronger and her new babies come into the world.  I hope she gives me a chance to introduce them to you. (smile!)  God bless you Angela and thanks for sharing with us today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Compassion is definitely in Fashion!

Good Morning!  I apologize for this late post.  I haven't been feeling well.  I am doing better and very excited
to share this post with you.  I hope you are just as excited to read it.  Do you have your coffee/tea?  If so, let's get to it!

Last week I introduced you to my mentor Sheila James-Scott of N'chole Feroce.  This week I would like to introduce you to an awesome lady that I met through Sheila by the name of Meredith Corning.  She and I became friends and share the love of fashion.  I was privileged to participate in the first Bridal Savore Faire Fashion Show in Little Rock, Arkansas, which was hosted by her.  I love to help people but she takes it to a totally different level (which we all should).  Like the saying goes. . . . "Don't talk about it, Be about it."  Putting her words and ideas in to action for others is exactly what Meredith does.

Well, don't let me drag this introduction on forever. . . . you will find out more about her and her awesome work in the interview.... I hope she inspires you as she has done for me.  Enjoy!

Your Girlfriend's Closet Charity Event
Meredith and Dawn Scott, THV11 News Anchor
1.  Tell me about yourself and how we came to meet
We met through our good friend (and my client), Sheila Scott.  You saw a fashion illustration I did for Sheila and asked me to whip something up for LovePetals.  Subsequently, we met in person at Oklahoma Fashion Week and the rest is history!

2.  What are your gifts and talents?  Were they taught or God given or both?
I think at this stage in my life, I've come to realize I have an innate talent for marketing.  Some of that was indeed learned through experience, but mostly I think that it has more to do with knowing people on a deeper level.  That is something you are born with or not.  For whatever reason, I also have a keen sense of what is beautiful.  I don't necessarily believe that everything I think is beautiful may be viewed as beautiful to other people.  I may see a piece of art that represents a beautiful message, but others may see only the paint strokes or the colors, the style and not like it. My gift is to appreciate beauty on multiple levels, not simply aesthetically.  

3.  What is your brand and what was your inspiration for starting it?
Diva's Dressing Daughters Event
Meredith and Korto Momolu from Project Runway
I started Compassion Fashion as a blog dedicated to providing a platform for domestic violence survivors and nonprofits and companies doing good works in the domestic violence sector.  Soon after, I started working on charitable events for causes that touched me in some way.  My inspiration was simply that I was tired of seeing horrible things happening in the world and had to become proactive to prevent myself from becoming completely stressed out about it.  It's the single most important thing we can do for ourselves is to help others.  Seems selfish when you think of it that way, but doing something that helps others will always have a positive effect on your life no matter what and that's just the simple cause and effect equation in the philanthropy world.

Photo of Kenya wearing one of the Divas 
Dressing Darlings dresses after facial
reconstruction at Arkansas Children's Hospital
Since those beginnings, I've turned Compassion Fashion into a marketing events company that incorporates fashion and philanthropy into everything we do.  Recently, I started a wedding planning branch of services and have also published a magazine called Bridal Savoir Faire, the same working title as an annual bridal show I host.  I also offer marketing consulting services to brands.

4.  Where can your brand be seen?  Website, twitter, fb, youtube, etc...
Compassion Fashion website:

Pinterest (truth: Pinterest is the only one I'm obsessed with):

Wedding Planning website:

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas and WIN's Dress-Up
CareerCloset Grand Opening.
5.  How can you be contacted?
My business is a service-oriented company and the best way to reach me is through my email:

6.  What advice do you have for someone striving to create a brand or find their gifts/purpose?
Always be true to yourself.  This means representing your brand to be as unique as you are.  Throw the rules out the window.  People are tired of cookie-cutter brands.  They want to see you.  They want to know who they are buying products/services from.  You have to have an online presence these days, but don't rely strictly on digital media.  Call your customers, meet them for coffee or invite them to dinner.  We are in a time where people are craving REAL relationships.  There are loads of options in the consumer market.  What will make someone want to work with you or buy your product?  Because you're so good or your
Inside look of the Bridal Savoir Faire Magazine 2014
product is so special?  No.  Tell the story of your brand.  Tell YOUR story.  What we all are selling at the end of the day is a lifestyle and a relationship with our brands.  Be smart.  Show them who you are, be vulnerable and the ones who walk away...c'est la vie.

7.  Do you run your business full time or are you bi-vocational?
My business is full-time.  I am constantly working on new projects or upcoming events and weddings.  

As you can see this woman is busy trying to make a difference in the world.  She is about relationships and being present for yourself and others.  She is a wife, mom, entrepreneur and humanitarian.  We should all aspire to have these attributes.  Thanks Meredith for sharing your story and letting us bask in your light.  You inspire us to dream big and to make a difference.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.

Good Morning!  I am sitting here  (feeling a little sick today) with my cup of tea (one of my favorite things) wondering how to begin this blog. Then this Beetles song comes in my head and I got it!!!  

Here is a snippet of the lyrics. . .  

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Yes, I get high with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

We can take the lyrics "love" out and imagine what we need, who we need and why we need it.  Some people try to act strong as if they can do it on their own and do not need anyone.  We all "get by with a little help" from whatever source that is.  

It just so happened that as I was preparing for my first big presentation (Oklahoma Fashion Week 2013) that I got by with help from my mentor Sheila James-Scott.  We had never met in person (before OKC Fashion Week) but, once we did, we became fast friends and I am so glad that she is a part of my life.  She inspires me with her zest for life and creativity, her warmness and generosity.  Read a little further and find out more about this talented woman.  Enjoy!!!

1.  Tell me about yourself and how we came to meet : 
 I'm a fashion designer who still works a full-time job in the power industry by day. Fashion keeps me balanced.  It's my ultimate passion.  You and I were "introduced" by Henry with Oklahoma Fashion Week in 2013.  Once we were able to speak on the phone, I felt like I had known you all my life.  We had an instant connection and I'm so blessed to know you.

2.  What are your gifts and talents?  I would say my gifts are my talents
.  Those would consist of singing by ear and sewing by sight.  Where they taught or God given or both?  Both of those are definitely God-given.

3.  What is your brand and what was your inspiration for starting it?  My brand is N'cholé Féroce, which was initially inspired by my mother and her love for fashion and sewing.  She always made our clothes when I was growing up and I wanted to pick up where she left off.  She began traveling a lot with her job and never got to get back to her passion for sewing.  I always admired how she could take an idea and turn it into something beautiful and unique.

4.  Where can your brand be seen?  Website, twitter, fb, youtube, etc...  I have a website (; Facebook page (; YouTube (NcholeFeroce); Twitter (

5.  How can customers shop or place and order?  I accept orders via my website or if someone would like to contact me by email or one of my social media pages, I'm open to that as well.  I'm still building up my Etsy shop but I can be contacted there as well.  Just search for NcholeFeroceAve.

6.  What advice do you have for someone striving to create a brand or find
their gifts/purpose?  Seek God first and foremost to help you with your purpose.  Surround yourself with people who are ahead of you and NEVER forget to return the favor to those who are trying to make a name for themselves as well.  Always remain humble and always remember those who helped you along the way, even those who didn't believe in you.  Those people even served a purpose to help you get to your rightful place even if they don't know it.

7.  Share with us the shows you have participated in this year.  This year, I have been involved in Little Rock Fashion Week (Little Rock, AR), Chattanooga Fashion Week (Chattanooga, TN), and Bridal Savoir Faire (Howell, AR).

I love that Sheila shared that people who don't believe in you/support you were also helpful.  It is so true!  They give you the drive and determination to make your dreams succeed.  Don't forget about them... they are necessary.  However, you should lean on your friends and listen to the positive affirmations they send your way.  Remember. . .  You get by with a little help from your friends!  Have a Great Day! 

RE: Interview Questions f

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Watch and Learn while on your ladder to Success!

"We often learn from our differences more than our similarities, and those ascending the ladder of success can watch and learn from those a few rungs above them." - T.D. Jakes

I am excited about this series of interviews I have begun.  It is exciting to read the answers to questions I have presented to the various people in my life who I am watching and who have motivated me on my quest to build my brand.  Now let's be clear . . . all of these people are not crochet designers. . . .  they are people following their passion.  They are people using the unique gifts and talents that are God given and (at times) developed or enhanced educationally.

Sometimes we are asked to do things that we think are small scale and do not have an impact.  We kinda turn our nose and think they are a waste of time and won't get us noticed or help us grow in the direction we would like to go.  But, EVERYTHING thing happens for a reason.  Nothing is a coincidence.  I have learned that more recently than all the years of my life.

Approximately three years ago I was asked to do a fashion show with my sister at her Women's Ministry Luncheon in Oklahoma City.  It was for her church (of course, I said Women's Ministry. Duh!!) lol!  I packed up my things, flew to Oklahoma for several days and participated.  I was only able to show a few things because the models selected were either too small or too large for the items I created.  I was kinda bummed because I packed all these things and only showed a few.  I felt it was a waste of time, effort and money.

Lots of pictures were taken at the event and they were posted to Facebook.  Some time later I was told that I was invited to participate in the first Oklahoma City Mercedes Benz Fashion Week!  (See! small things can create big opportunities!)  I met with the gentleman, he connected me to those in charge and the rest is history.  He also connected me to a women who had experience doing these type of fashion shows and suggested that we team up so she would become my Mentor.  We did, and again the rest is history!

I will be introducing her to you this Tuesday and invite you to stop by and read her interview.  I am sure you'll be inspired by her story.  I also hope that (if you haven't already) you begin your quest to surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you to embrace your gifts, work through your struggles, believe that God has your back and push you to reach your goals.  No man is an island.  We all need each other and also to see or read the stories of those who have taken the steps we are are now taking.  It lets us know we are not alone. . . . we are stronger than we think . . . and slow and steady wins the race.

So, read the stories of those who are successful, reach out to them (if accessible) and grasp and learn what you can. This is will inspire you as you climb the ladder to success. See you Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Be Generous. . . There is Enough Out There For Us All!

I have a question . . . .Has a friend ever told you about a great deal they received but failed to let you know where it was?  Has an acquaintance (we wont call them a friend, lol!) found out about a great opportunity that could be of great benefit to you but didn't want to see you progress better than them? (The Crab effect)  It happens all the time.  I don't understand the logic and kinda feel sorry for them.  They don't know the benefits of being generous.  It doesn't just benefit the other, it also benefits the person that shares the information.

This is one thing that attracted me to (Sedie) Sedruola Noel Mruska of Yarn Obsession. . . . her selflessness and generosity.  She runs a thriving Crochet business and has recently begun a mentoring program (which I am proud to say that I am a part of!!) which helps newbies (or not so new but in need of advice) to be informed of new strategies and concepts that will help grow their businesses.  

I love her spirit and willingness to share.  She seems (to me) to be very positive and determined.  I watched her for a while before I reached out to her and I'm glad I found the courage to do so.  She has become a very important part of my life and business and I am very happy to introduce her to you.  I hope you take the time to check out her pages and find something you love. (Which I'm sure you will!) Enjoy the interview . . . . 

1.  Tell me about yourself and how we came to meet
I am a mommy, entrepreneur, wife and so much more! I love to crochet, read, relax and spend time with friends and family. I met Tracy via my Yarn Obsession page in 2013 when she reached out to ask if I could help with her online presence. Her clothing pieces are lovely and it is my pleasure that we are still in contact today!

2.  What are your gifts and talents?  Where they taught or God given or both?
This is a very interesting question. I'll tell you, for a long time others saw my gifts and talents LONG before I did! I'm the ultimate people-person. I have a gift for not only being able to get along with most people, but intuitively I bring people together. That is my gift, my talent and my calling! Is it God-given? Yes, I believe it is because it has always been so. I have other talents and gifts that draw upon this one big "superpower" and as long as I stay true to it, I find that I'm extremely fulfilled.

3.  What is your brand and what was your inspiration for starting it?
My brand is Yarn Obsession! But ultimately, the brand is me and I am the brand. I started Yarn Obsession as a way to make a few extra dollars to cover the cost of my hobby. Then it was to gain a bit extra for my family. Today, Yarn Obsession is what I want to do full-time and has evolved as a way to take my talent and help others build upon theirs! The evolution of Yarn Obsession has been gradual but steady and it's still evolving. The marketplace is always changing and I'm just happy and blessed enough to be able to do something I LOVE and evolve with the marketplace.

4.  Where can your brand be seen?  Website, twitter, fb, youtube, etc...
People ask me that all the and I start to list off my places, but then I say just Google "Sedruola Maruska" it will all come up for you. . . even other ventures that are not defunct! However, or ease of research I'll list them here:
YouTube: (brand new branch of my brand)
5.  How can customers shop or place and order?
In the last year I've moves all of my products to my website so it's easy to shop in one place. I love it because I have full control and when I send people to my site they don't get distracted. I also have a ton of free information that is helpful to yarn arts businesses and more coming every day!

6.  What advice do you have for someone striving to create a brand or find their gifts/purpose?
My advice is to read, learn and get inspired by everything around you then jump in with both feet! Don't wait for the exact right time to start, that time is when you think you want to start. Things will never be perfect, but just going for it will open up doors and experiences and ideas that you would never get by waiting. Trust in yourself and your inner-voice then move with confidence. Invest in your learning whether that be books, classes, mentoring or coaching. No one goes alone. Most of all I want to let other know that if the desire is there and you give yourself the opportunity to follow it, you'll never regret moving with your passion.

7.  Do you run your business full time or are you bi-vocational?
I run my business full-time and I have a part-time gig! LOL! What I mean by that is I'm always thinking and planning for my business. I spend the majority of my waking hours working on ways to deliver valuable content to the marketplace. My part-time gig I could do in my sleep, and often feel like I am. However, I have a few goals and milestones set out. Reaching them will mean getting rid of the gig and truly being a full-time business builder!

If you are in need of business mentoring for your knit or crochet business I recommend that you reach out to Sedie and check out her mentoring program. (contact information is listed above) You'll be glad that you did.  Have a great day!